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The Republic of Singapore, sometimes referred to as the “Lion City”, is a sovereign city-state in Southeast Asia. Stamford Raffles founded colonial Singapore in 1819 as a trading post of the East India Company. Japan occupied the state during WWII. In 1963, it received freedom as a part of Malaysia, but seceded to form the independent Singapore in 1965. In just about half a century, Singapore has emerged as the Asian Tiger, in economy and development. It is often referred to by first-world occupants as Asia 101, since it affords them the luxuries of a first world nation, while retaining the exotic flavor of Asian culture. Singapore is on everyone’s list of places to see before they die. If you are planning to visit anytime soon, here are a few unusual travel tips for Singapore that might be of use.
Singapore Travel Pass is not a must have!
Despite mass wisdom, I would request you to weigh your options carefully before you buy the Singapore Pass. Even if you get the 3-day pass, it costs you SGD 20 which is probably a bit more than what you’ll spend on your 3 day transport otherwise. An average MRT ticket costs around SGD 1.5 and you can take multiple stops\transfers before you reach your destination. So unless you really plan to take atleast 12 trips in 3 days this pass will not cost you less. You should also remember that the pass is not usable in many of the buses and taxis, and the refundable deposit can be hard to recover, since there aren’t too many outlets selling this pass.
Taxis aren’t that expensive!
A major mistake in my Singapore trip was that I did not take taxis from Day 1. We were a large group of 6 people, and taxis would have been quite a hassle free option. Though it costs a bit more than the MRTs, the difference is not too huge. Singapore being a small city, most of our taxi commutes took us less than SGD 17, quite a decent price. If you are a group of four or above, taxi can sometimes cost lesser than the MRTs. Also, Singapore Zoo and Jurong Bird park are located away from the city centre, and it is easier and perhaps cheaper to take taxis to these places, instead of multiple stopovers in MRT and buses. If your group consists of elderly or kids, taxi should be your automatic choice.
Zoo and Jurong bird park – stick to the showtimes
The show times are available on their official websites. Please check the same and adhere to it if you are visiting these places. The tickets are expensive and if you miss the shows you’ll probably feel that the attractions are not worth much. Take the tram rides only if you have mobility issues or have very little time. Remember that tram rides will just take you near the attractions but you will need to get off the tram to have a proper look. Also, the tram stations have long queues and you might have to wait for a while before you get your chance. If you have visited the likes of Safari World Bangkok, you can miss Zoo and Jurong Bird Park altogether (this is my personal opinion having visited both).
Gardens by the Bay is a must visit!
Unlike Zoo, Jurong Bird Park and Sentosa attractions, Gardens by the Bay is unique to Singapore. It is an exceptional concept which cannot be seen anywhere else in the world. Keep this in mind while planning your itinerary, if you have time\money crunch skip the above ones but not Gardens by the Bay. The Flower Dome and Cloud Forest are paid attractions and should be on your must-visit list. Try to visit in the afternoon so that you get a proper view of the flowers in daylight. Wait till the evening so that you can have a look at the glowing Supertrees.
Online tickets are not always helpful!
At times, online tickets can give you certain discounts and you can skip the queue, while more often than not online tickets can be a hindrance. At many places, like Sentosa, you need to exchange online tickets for real ones, which means you will have to stand in the queue anyway. Moreover, buying online tickets means you lose your flexibility to skip a certain attraction if need be. I would not recommend buying them, unless you are getting a great discount.
Specific tips for Sentosa Island attractions
No, Sentosa Express is not the only way to get in. In fact getting in and out of Sentosa is best done in a taxi. Not only will it cost you less, it will also let you skip the immensely crowded monorail. Once you are in Sentosa, travel is free and you can board the Sentosa Express for travelling within Sentosa without buying tickets. Go to the Waterfront station first if you have online tickets because the online tickets need to be exchanged for physical tickets and the counter is at Waterfront station. Tickets for the Universal studios are quite expensive and you might want to reconsider if you are not availing any of the adventure rides.
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